Adding the Sparkle!

Discussion in 'Lighting Tutorials' started by MichaelSewell, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    WedFayre_003 copy.

    This particular image was taken at Farington Lodge in Leyland, near Preston. Victoria had put together a pinterest board with various creative wedding images she liked, a lot of which were mine from previous weddings. This is a good way to find what your client is actually after, providing they are aware it's for ideas and inspiration, and not simply to duplicate. This particular idea was spawned from a firework image Victoria had seen, but felt it wouldn’t be practical on the day. I think she expected it to take far too long to set up.
    Actually, it’s quite straightforward.

    I needed a long enough exposure to capture the writing, along with a pop of light to correctly expose Victoria and Tony. So, I definitely needed a tripod!
    Lets start with the lighting.

    The tree is actually lit by one of the hotel floodlights, so I made use of it. I placed a Godox Witatro 360Ws (available in various guises from Cheetah Stands, Strobies, Lencarta etc.) behind the groom and bride to provide the rim light, set to 1/32nd and firing through a dedicated beauty dish without a grid.

    Frame left is another Witstro 360, firing at 1/16th through an 80×80 folding softbox, which is providing the overall fill for the bride and groom.
    A third Witstro 360 is frame right, firing through a gridded beauty dish at 1/8th output, providing some textural skim to the Victoria's dress. It also provides some highlight to the Tony's suit.

    The flash synch was set to second curtain, so the flash will fire just as the second curtain is about to close. The shutter speed was 8 seconds, to allow sufficient “ambient” (tree floodlights etc) to register for the floodlit areas in the background, and also register the path of the sparkler. The slight movement of the tree leaves can be seen due to the long exposure.

    8secs ISO100 f5.6

    Wondering why the writing didn't go right to the edge of the frame?
    I had to clone out my fat head, as I didn't quite make it out of the frame in time. Meh!

    Budget Version:
    Basically, just swap all Witstros for speedlights. Rim light would be 8th and firing through a stofen. Frame left main light would be ¼ and fire into a shoot through umbrella. The frame right texture light would be ½ and fire into a reflective umbrella.
    You may need to tweak the output settings slightly dependant on the modifier used.

    Things to bear in mind:
    Umbrellas are absolutely brilliant for a number of reasons. They are easy to store, transport and erect. They can be used fully deployed or partially collapsed to give quite different looks to the light. They make brilliant parachutes, and will throw your lighting gear to the floor at the slightest breeze! Use camping guide ropes and tent pegs to immobilise your lightstands.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2016
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  2. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Same settings, pretty much. Although I feel they don't have the same allure as the sparkler image above.

    WedFayre_059 copy. WedFayre_071 copy.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
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  3. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
    Really nice idea for the long exposure shot with the writing. For the 2nd two shots, did you keep the long exposure to keep the ambient back lighting, or did you cut it back to a faster shutter speed?
  4. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    The first image in the second post had a shorter shutter speed, indicated by little movement in the tree and less detail in the background.
    I had decided to up the shutter speed as I wanted to see if a "sharp" tree was less distracting. I found I didn't like it on the back of the camera, although it wasn't that bad in Post.
    The second image had the same settings as the sparkler image in the first post.
  5. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    I actually like it better than it didn't go off frame. Makes it look like she is actually holding something in the air. Its ending makes it appear more like a real object in the frame.

    Hadn't thought of using an umbrella not fully opened. I will have to give that a try sometime and see what it looks like.

    Yes, my one umbrella (note to self, but another one soon) has a nice kink in a couple of the tines/spokes from just such a fall. I was able to straighten them enough so that the umbrella is still serviceable. As you said, outside with no weight on the stand and on a NO breeze day still blew it over.

    A little trick I thought of this past weekend when shooting some friends of mine for their "save the date" cards. We were walking around the downtown area of the city looking for doorways or what have you for backdrops. Since I knew we would be moving around a bit to try out a few spots and it was a rather casual shoot and they didn't need anything fancy, one stand, one speedlight, & one umbrella all of which once put together is very mobile. Release the lock and let the umbrella relax, take the weight I was using off the bottom of the stand, and simply pick it all up and walk. Anyway, as is usually the case, the woman will have a purse along. It had been raining so the ground was wet. I did have a weight, but killing two birds with one stone, I simply hung her purse off the bottom most knob of the stand which kept her purse off the wet ground and added bottom weight to my stand.
  6. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    Fair point, and we each appreciate different things about images. The bride liked the way it stopped too.

    If a reflective umbrella is allowed to almost close, it can give a soft, irregular edged snoot like appearance. Try it with a shoot through too, for some quite bizarre looks. You may get more use out of the technique with the reflective brolly.

    If that purse weighed anything like my wife's purse, you were lucky not to break your stand!
  7. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I'm missing one thing: who did the writing and how? You, the bride, is some fast burning metal wire planted in the ground?
  8. MichaelSewell

    MichaelSewell Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 1, 2015
    Burnley, UK
    Michael A. Sewell
    I wrote the word love during the long exposure. Hence my comment about my fat head being in the frame
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